Networking Question: How do you reunite with someone in your network who you haven’t talked to in years? Is all hope lost on reestablishing a genuine connection besides a one off Linkedin invite “for coffee”?
#BYDN Answer: No, all hope is not lost. HOWEVER, control your immediate urge to send a generic “let’s meet for coffee” email. Personalize and humanize your outreach instead (I mean really, does the other person even like coffee?). A few suggestions before you craft your outreach to this long-lost contact:
- Google them!
- Review their online bio.
- Read their LinkedIn profile.
- Did the Google search turn up a blog they write? If so, glance over what the person is writing about.
- Check their other online profiles.
- Any news coverage? Press releases?
- Log onto Facebook. Any mutual friends who can provide insights on what the other person is up to these days?
BASED on what you find from your sleuthing — craft a note to send via email or snail mail or FB Messenger or via their blog or inMail on LinkedIn or comment on their Instagram. YES, send a note via the channel the other person uses to communicate! Acknowledge that it has been years since you’ve talked, then show them you’ve caught up on what they have achieved or accomplished in the intervening time period. Tale of two emails from former law firm colleagues of mine: one launched with “Hey Kelly, it’s been a while but what have you been up to?” while the other recognized it had been 8 years since we worked together then detailed how she’d followed my career changes plus made some parallel ones of her own. It was a delight to receive the latter communication. Not so much the first one. Your goal is to send a communication that (re)generates the ties that used to bind.
An “it has been a while” outreach without the basic background search is not likely to score a reunion with a long lost contact. IMHO: spending a little time researching the other person online is just common courtesy in the digital era.